What is the Mission of RPLP? The program's mission is to increase the number of physicians who are trained to provide high-quality health care and leadership, who are knowledgeable about community health, and who have and interest in practicing in rural areas of the commonwealth and beyond.
Why should a student pursue rural training? Traditional medical training is performed at tertiary care centers, emphasizing treatment of critically ill patients with advanced diseases. The RPLP offers an alternative mode of training, emphasizing commonly seen diseases, outpatient and continuity care, rural and community health issues, and cooperative arrangements with other hospitals. These topics are critical to practicing in a rural area. Understanding of rural health issues is also essential for those interested in missionary work or medical practice outside the United States. Due to its smaller size, the RPLP also emphasizes developing close relationships with faculty and the community.
What is the RPLP Curriculum? Students complete the first two years of the MD curriculum at the University of Kentucky academic medical center in Lexington alongside students enrolled in the regular program. The third year is completed at St. Claire Regional and other practices in Northeast Kentucky. Third-year clinical clerkships are similar to the block rotations completed by students in Lexington: Internal Medicine (16 weeks), Surgery (8 weeks), Psychiatry (4 weeks), Neurology (4 weeks), Pediatrics (8 weeks), and Obstetrics/Gynecology (4 weeks). The Family and Community Medicine rotation in the RPLP is a longitudinal experience wherein students attend a family medicine clinic each week for the entire year. Students gain a greater familiarity with the workings of the clinic and with the patients seen there. Additionally, the curriculum includes one month of community medicine experience, where students are immersed into other healthcare providers such as dentistry, pharmacy, pain clinic, hospice, and home health. Students also spend time with community leaders discussing community needs.
The fourth year consists of two acting internships at UK-approved locations, and two mandatory courses which require some attendance in Lexington. Students also complete 16 weeks of elective rotations, which may be done in Morehead, Lexington, or elsewhere.
Where is the RPLP located? The RPLP is located in Morehead, Kentucky. Students receive rural-centered clinical experiences at St. Claire Regional Medical Center and with other providers; students also have an opportunity to participate in a certificate program through Morehead State University.
Where do the clinical rotations occur? St. Claire Regional Medical Center is a 159-bed rural referral hospital located in Morehead, one hour from Lexington, in Northeast Kentucky. St. Claire Regional has over 50 years of experience in training medical students, as a teaching affiliate of the University of Kentucky. The hospital has an ICU and critical care capability. There is an active internal medicine hospitalist service with medical specialties available, including nephrology, oncology, cardiology, pulmonology and gastroenterology. Students are involved in both inpatient and outpatient psychiatry, assist with deliveries, and work with general surgeons and subspecialists. In addition to outpatient clinics in surrounding counties, the hospital maintains home health services, home hospice and palliative care. Other teaching sites include pediatrics practices in Mount Sterling, South Shore, and Maysville; family medicine sites in the region; and neurology in Richmond.
Are there scholarships or loans specific to the RPLP? Students in the RPLP may qualify for various scholarships offered by UK College of Medicine. Student service personnel in Lexington and Morehead assist students in exploring their financing options. While there are scholarships and loan repayment programs available for students who practice in medically underserved areas, there are no specific scholarship funds available for RPLP students.
Students enrolled in the RPLP pay the same tuition and fees as students enrolled in the regular MD program in Lexington.
How do I continue rural-oriented training after medical school? Physicians in greatest demand in rural areas are those with broad-based primary care skills. However, physicians who complete general internal medicine, general pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, general surgery, and obstetrics-gynecology residencies may also be well suited to practice in some rural areas. There are many rural or community based residencies around the country that can provide additional rural training after medical school.
How do I find a practice location to serve a rural community in Kentucky? The best way to find a practice location in rural Kentucky is to complete your education there. Local physicians and community members often are glad to assist students in finding a place to practice. No Commitment Required! RPLP Graduates are not required to make any kind of commitment for residency or practice upon graduation.